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  • by Nicola Boulton September 05, 2022 5 min read

    How to Cope with Your Child's Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

    Children are a source of enjoyment and a beacon of hope and happiness for families. They are regarded as highly valued members of society. They carry the future and the power to make a positive difference. They radiate joy and peace due to their innocence, and it is unlikely they will encounter challenges meant to manifest shortly.

    The challenges being spoken of are emotional and behavioral disorders. Quite frankly, children are used to crying. It is their response to overwhelming situations and emotions such as fear, anger, stress, and even happiness. Even though it is normal and natural for children to cry in response to various emotions and events, some children cry more than usual. Additionally, they get overly excited and feel frustrated faster than other kids. Even though emotions are a pinnacle in a child's life, as they navigate a way to express themselves, it is safe to say that learning to regulate your emotions is important. Teaching your children how to regulate theirs is indeed divine.

    Maintain an Open Mind

    Maintain an open mind if you wish to cope with your child's emotional and behavioral disorders. This might be challenging, especially because it negates the core and makes you act in an unprecedented manner that you feel is not constructive. Teach your child about emotions. Sit down with them and explain in the simplest terms possible what they're feeling and why they may have those feelings.

    An interactive way to practice this with your child is by asking them questions about their favorite TV shows. For example, if they watch a TV show named "X," ask them how a certain character feels. After that, ask them if they feel the same way or if they relate to the character's feelings. With time, the child will comprehend their emotions and will be willing to improve on how they deal with them. When a child gets in touch with their emotions, they become mentally strong, even when they feel these emotions deeply.

    In simple terms, build an emotional vocabulary with your child. Listen, and listen more. If you want to cope, if you want to help them, lead them by serving them.

    Clearly Outline the Difference between Feelings and Behaviors

    Imagine that you and your child have gone to the nearest convenience store to purchase a few household items. You have a fixed budget and have already planned to buy what you need and get home as quickly as possible. Your child starts throwing a tantrum just because you have not bought them an item they desired. The right choice is to be firm on your decision. Do not allow your decisions to be swayed by your child, although the unrest that has broken loose makes you want to rethink your decision.

    Lochmann et al. (2021) suggested that children must understand that their emotions are valid. Feeling sad, happy, and angry is okay, natural, and human. What is not acceptable is responding to these emotions socially unacceptable manner.

    To make the child more comfortable, parents opt to follow every wave of feeling the child expresses blindly. On the other hand, some parents decide to shut down every emotional aspect of their child, making the child feel caged and unable to express themselves. This is counterintuitive. It does not help

    Masath et al. (2020) recommended disciplining behavior, not emotions. When coping with your child's emotional disorders, make it clear to them that the response to their emotions MUST be in a manner that is logical and socially acceptable. Do this out of love because children are sensitive to feelings. They may be able to detect when you are invested in their welfare or when you are inauthentic in your love towards them. Even though they are angry at someone, they have no right to beat them up. Make them understand this without holding back. Enforce it, and ensure that they comprehend that there are always consequences for their actions, some of which they may never like.

    Teach Them How to Regulate Their Emotions

    A child's age will determine their ability to control emotions. A 24-month-old baby is typically unable to control their emotions. However, a 5-year-old baby can learn how to regulate their emotions. Your parental duty is to ensure your child understands how to control their emotions, even if it's only the basics. There are several ways you can do this:

    Problem-solving with your child: it is common for a child's emotions to cause problems. For example, other children may not want to play with them because they are violent. Moreover, if they cry often, they may not be able to participate in physical activities to strengthen their bodies. Sit down with your child, and work together to solve this problem. Ask them for your input. They may have unique ideas they could not have figured out alone. They are your blood, and therefore carry your intelligence, don't they?

    Take a break – as an adult, you always want to take a step back before acting impulsively. You can stay silent or walk out of the room to recollect yourself. Apply the same ideology to your child, and teach them that taking a step back is always important to recollect yourself. Walk outside, drink water, and remain calm while breathing in steadily. Eventually, they will control their emotions instead of letting emotions get the best of them.

    Practice deep breathing – According to Toussaint et al. (2021), deep breathing helps rejuvenate the mind and ease body tension. Breathing deeply allows more oxygen to flow in the body, which helps in an efficient metabolism. Instruct your child on how to breathe deeply. You can practice by telling them to blow up a balloon, which would help them adapt and master deep breathing. Please encourage them to do so when they feel upset or sad because this will help them relax.

    Should You Seek Professional Help?

    Wauthia et al. (2016) found that children can grasp emotional processing for 8-9 years. Try all the techniques mentioned above, but seek medical help from a pediatrician if they do not work. Their emotional outbursts may also stem from a medical issue, such as an undiagnosed ear infection or severe toothache. Moreover, seek medical advice if the emotions are becoming persistent and are affecting their daily lives. An extra helping hand would go a long way in improving the quality of life of your child.


    Patience and composure may be some of the major ingredients to cope with your child's emotional and behavioral disorders. Trying to manage emotions requires spontaneous skills, which a child may lack. However, through parents' loving guidance, they can learn to manage how they react to different situations. Teach them about deep breathing, taking a break, identifying what boosts their mood, and problem-solving with your child. Do not forget to teach your child about their emotions and discipline behavior, not emotions. Feel free to seek medical help if your child's problem persists, as an undiagnosed medical condition may cause it.


    Lochmann, J., Fitzgerald, D., Gage, S., Kanaly, K., Whidby, J., Barry, T., ... & Mcelory, H. (2021). Effects Of Social-Cognitive Intervention For Aggressive Deaf Children: The Coping Power Program.

    Masath, F. B., Hermenau, K., Nkuba, M., & Hecker, T. (2020). Reducing Violent Discipline By Teachers Using Interaction Competencies With Children For Teachers (ICC-T): Study Protocol For A Matched Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial In Tanzanian Public Primary Schools. Trials, 21(1), 1-11.

    Toussaint, L., Nguyen, Q. A., Roettger, C., Dixon, K., Offenbächer, M., Kohls, N., ... & Sirois, F. (2021). Effectiveness Of Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Deep Breathing, And Guided Imagery In Promoting Psychological And Physiological States Of Relaxation. Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 2021.

    Wauthia, E., & Rossignol, M. (2016). Emotional Processing And Attention Control Impairments In Children With Anxiety: An Integrative Review Of Event-Related Potentials Findings. Frontiers In Psychology, 7, 562.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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